Are you worried that your competitor or a disgruntled employee or customer is using negative SEO techniques to hurt your website’s rankings?
Google sometime back launched an aggressive campaign to rein in link popularity manipulation. This is a technique where sites buy website-wide text link ads to increase the number of incoming links/backlinks drastically. Google not only reduced the ranking of such websites but even removed the websites from their database. However, some unscrupulous web users started buying such ads for their competitors and Google penalized innocent websites even though it was the vengeful competitor who bought the site-wide ads. This negative SEO technique is called Google Bowling.
Is Google taking a step towards curbing negative SEO? Is it making sure that companies are not hurt by their competitors’ negative SEO attacks? Watch Matt Cutts – head of Google’s Webspam team, talk about negative SEO and Google’s Disavow links feature in this video.
Google Webspam team is always thinking about negative SEO attacks
According to Matt, while designing new algorithms or while taking action against websites – his webspam team is always thinking about ways that the algorithms can be used by business competitors to hurt each other. Matt assures that this is why Google ensures that its algorithms are resistant to negative SEO attacks. He says that the algorithm developers always go through previous cases of negative SEO attacks to strengthen new algorithms against negative SEO techniques.
Most small businesses do not have to worry about being the victims of negative SEO attacks as Matt says that most negative SEO threats are empty. There are not many people who will indulge in such tactics. Also, Google has come down hard on private and public link networks so carrying out negative SEO attacks like Google Bowling is not as easy as it used to be. Still, some businesses in extremely competitive niches like online gambling are still falling prey to negative SEO attacks.
Google’s new weapon – Disavow Links tool
If you are worried that your website has a lot of incoming links that are spammy or are from suspicious websites, Google has launched a new tool – Disavow Links – just for you. Firstly, Matt suggests that companies remove all low-quality and spammy backlinks and to clean up their links. This is quite common as many companies hire SEO experts who build bad links to their site via paid links. Even after you have removed as many bad backlinks as you can, and you still think that malicious sites are pointing to your site and hurting your website’s ranking, you can use the Disavow Tool.
With this tool, you can tell Google all the links it should ignore. Disavowing backlinks is a two step procedure. Firstly, you will have to download the list of links to your website. After this, you have to make another file with a list of links Google should disavow. You can do this by downloading a CSV file of all the links and then sorting through it and creating a separate list of links to be disavowed. You can upload this list and Google will ignore the links mentioned in it.
If you want Google to ignore all links from a whole domain, then you can mention the domain name and Google will disavow all links from this domain. For example, this is very helpful when you see that for some odd reason a porn site has a lot of links to your website. So even if you are a victim of negative SEO attacks, just use the disavow tool to repel the attacks very easily. Watch this video to see what else Matt Cutts has to say about negative SEO.